The Battle of Spion Kop
By Spike Milligan
Broadcast 29th December 1958 (series 9 episode 9)
Greenslade: This is the BBC Light Programme. Now here is a variation on that. This is THE BBC Light Programme.
Cast: Murmurs of approval
Sellers: The old night school's paying off there, Wal,
Secombe: Yer, chat on more on it there Wal lad. Give us a bit more of the posh chat der.
Greenslade: I continue my recital of announcements. The BBC is open to the public on Thursdays and Wednesday afternoons, or, on Wednesday afternoons and Thursdays.
Milligan: Thank you Jim, now here folks is Chief Ellinga Yingtoo to say Thursday in Swahali.
Ray Ellington: Ma ar Ia toola, yarga toola marngo, me ar gar tula Ia margu uta mee! tick arrs fargoola tol dommmmmmmm. What?
Milligan: You see how long the days are in Africa folks. Forward Mr Seaside with your New Year's resolutions.
Seagoon: Thank you. Hello folks, hello folks, it is me folks, folks, it is me! Next year folks I hope to give up 1958 permanently.
Elder Statesman: Ungrateful beast, after 1958 all it's done for you, you discard it like an old boot, I Won't hear it.
Seagoon: Let me warn you hairy sir, of the many dangers and donjers of keeping on old years after it's worn out. Mrs Greenslade's husband will now tell you why.
Greenslade: It was the year 1907 and here is the orchestra to play it.
Orchestra: New years-type musical link. singing in the middle. Sound fx in music. Finishes on a chord.
Seagoon: Ohhhwhatayearthatwas. ..the South African war had broken out and was now in its second year,
Cast: [Singing] 'Happy Birthday'
Seagoon: Knock knock knock on a door in Africa.
Bloodnok: Knock knock on a door in Africa... Gad, that's the address of my door - come in!
Seagoon: Effects door opens.
Bloodnok: Ahhh 'effects Ahhh'.
Seagoon: May I introduce myself?
Bloodnok: Of course.
Seagoon: (announcing) Ladies and Gentlemen! The man in the blue corner is Neddie Seagoon.
Seagoon: (normal) Thank you. I'm 5th Lieutenant Seagoon reporting from Sandhurst SW9.
Bloodnok: Oh, sit down on that chair in Africa SE16.
Fx: Duck call
Seagoon: Thank you. I was told to hand this envelope to you with a hand...
Bloodnok: Oh... Pronounced...
Grams: Bloodnok Ooooooooooooh!!!
Fx: Envelope opening
Bloodnok: Oh, these are your secret orders.
Seagoon: What do they say?
Bloodnok: Standddddd Attttttt... Ease...
Grams: Regiment standing at ease
Seagoon: (relief) Oh, that feels much better sir.
Bloodnok: Yes, and it suits you what's more. Now to military matters, of milt. Captain Jampton?
Grams: Mad dash of coconut shells horses hooves very brief, very fast. approaching to foreground.
Hugh Jampton: Ahhh ... sorry I'm late sir, I. .. was quelling a native with ah... quells.
Bloodnok: You'll get the military piano and bar for this, ah... now explain the victorious positions of our defeated troops.
Hugh Jampton: Ah... intelligence ah... has established that the ah... the people attacking us ar.. are... are... the enemy.
Bloodnok: So that's their fiendish game is it?
Seagoon: Gentlemen, do the enemy realise that you have this information?
Bloodnok: Oh no, we got 'em fooled, they think that we're the enemy.
Seagoon: What a perfect disguise.
Hugh Jampton: Ha ha ha, yes you see Lieutenant Seagoon we have a plan - a plan of plin and ploof. The South Africans are magnificent fighters, and it's our intention to persuade them to come over to our side.
Seagoon: Then that would finish the war sir!
Hugh Jampton: Oh not Ha ha ha. Oh dearie no!
Seagoon: Then how would you keep it going?
Hugh Jampton: England, my dear sir, is never short of enemies!
Bloodnok: Of course not the waiting room's full of 'em. Now Seagoon, sit down, tell me what's the time back in England?
Seagoon: Twenty to four sir.
Bloodnok: Ah... it's nice to hear the old time again... Singhiz?
Singhiz Thingz: Yes sir?
Bloodnok: Now get out will you! You see, Seagoon, how bad things are! That banana for instance... It's only been eaten once, and look at it!
Seagoon: But sir, back in England they told me all was well.
Bloodnok: Back in England, all is well. It's here where the trouble lies.
Bloodnok: (over above) Oh - what the - eh - what?
Grams: Approach of old car back firing. Grinding of gear. Parping on bulb horn. Car explodes... Gusher of steam. Falls to bits... Yells.
Eccles: Well... I think I'll pull-up here.
Bloodnok: I say you, you with the apparent teeth.
Eccles: 0h, a soldier man... Hello soldier... Bang... Bang... Bang Bang... Bang - you're dead soldier!
Seagoon: Let me talk to him. I speak Idiot fluently. . . (does Eccles impression) Hello Ecclesssss.
Eccles: Oh?... You're from the old country. .. Oh hohohi [aside to audience] someone else from the Old Country Eh? Well I wish they were back there
Bloodnok: Neddie allow me to humour him with this mallet.
Seagoon: No no no, leave it to me. (as Eccles) Tell us Mad Dan, wha' are you doing in Africa..
Eccles: 'What are you doing in Africa' I translated. I'm here as an adviser to the British Army
Seagoon: (as Eccles) Splendid, what are you going to advise them?
Eccles: Not to take me.
Bloodnok: Oh, I respect your cowardice, it warms my heart and gives old Denis a real smart idea. Come over here and warm yourself by this Recruiting-Sergeant.
Sergeant: (secombe)(cockney) 'Ello 'ello 'ello my lad, you look a likely lad.
Eccles: HELLO, hello, hello my laddddd. Yourn loonk linke a ohn
Sergeant: Very gude, very gude... 'ere lad, 'ow would you like to 'ave a grandstand view of the opening night of the Battle of Spion Kop dere.
Bloodnok: just a moment Sergeant... Spion Kop! He can have my place I tell you!
Sergeant: Oh ho ho?
Bloodnok: Yes, just by chance Sergeant I have a vacant uniform in the front rank, he'll see everything from there.
Sergeant: Now then, you 'eard that very fair offer from the nice Major dere.
Eccles: Yes, he's a nice Major...
Eccles: ...He's a nice man. How much do you want for dat?
Bloodnok: Well, usually it's free, but just this once it will be seven shillings, so ah shall we say a pound?
Eccles: A pound?
Bloodnok: You said it.
Eccles: Oh... I've only got a five-pound note.
Bloodnok: Well, I'll take that and you can pay me the other four.later.
Bloodnok: Oh, the old Military till.
Sergeant: You're a very lucky ladddd there Eccles.... I'll have a regiment call for you at six tomorrow morning. Meantime here is the well known 'Conks' Geidray. A sittin' target.
Max Geldray: Boy, in the war my conk holds its own.
Max Geldray and Orchestra - "This Can't Be Love"
Orchestra: Dramatic 'return to the story' link
Grams: Horse artillery trotting up tile line. Distant tramp of soldiers plodding along rough road.
Greenslade: At Dawn the British attack was mounted, not very well stuffed but beautifully mounted. Then suddenly through the stilled British front line, a lone voice is heard.
Moriarty: (approaching) Lucky charms.., get your lucky charms before the battle.., get your lucky charms boys. (sings) Get your self a charm today, and save yourself from harm today.
Willium: 'lire... 'ere mate... charm man? 'Ere.
Moriarty: What is it merry drummer man.
Willium: Them charms, are they any cop mate?
Moriarty: Ah, they're. . . they're real cop mate - Nelson brought one for Waterloo.
Willium: He weren't at Waterloo.
Moriarty: Of course not, he was in my shop buying a lucky charm. You see how lucky they are.
Willium: How much is a good one then?
Moriarty: Well certainly, what part don't you want to be wounded in?
Willium: I don't want any of me parts wounded.
Moriarty: I know, you want the all parts comprehensive charm.
Willium: Hurry up then - how much??
Moriarty: Three shillings, it's a real bargain with bar...
Willium: There snail eater - I pins it on me chest so me chest won't get killed.
Fx: Pistol shot
Willium: Owwwwwwwwwwww Mateeeeeeeee.
Fx:, Thud of body
Moriarty: Good shot Grytpype.
Grytpype: Unpin the lucky charm and back on the tray with it. Off you go Morantilly.
Moriarty: Charms, second hand lucky charms. (fading) Only used once before...
Grytpype: There he goes, a true son of France and Hyde Park. Who knows what mystic thoughts are whispering in the mossy glades of his krutty shins.
Secombe: I say, do you mind taking your hat off, old chap The battle's about to begin, and we can't see you know.
Grams: Battle starts - First the volleys of musketry, Then distant cannons. The return fire of the enemy is even more distant. Fade down and under. Fade in big ben chiming. Fade.
Elder Statesman: Gentlemen of the house, the Battle of Spion Kop opened last night.
Cast: Here Here! Long Live the Empire!
Elder Statesman: Ahh, but I fear it got very bad notices in the Press.
MP: You're not thinking of taking it off are you, Mr Prime Minister?
Elder Statesman: Well, unless Robert Morley puts some money in I can see no other way...
MP: But what about Binkie and his backers, they'll lose all their money.
Elder Statesman: Patience sir, patience. We have here Lieutenant Seagoon...
MP: Have we?
Elder Statesman: who will proceed to give us the reasons for the disaster.
Seagoon: Thank you, Hon Members. The reason for it flopping was obvious.... there isn't one decent song in the whole battle.
Sellers: (as anot her stat) But soldier fellow, the Battle of Spion Kop isn't musical you!
Seagoon: And that's where we went wrong. If the Americans had been running it they'd have had Rex Harrison, and the other wrecks.
Elder Statesman: Do you know any good composers of battle songs and scores?
Seagoon: Just by chance and careful planning, I have an Auntie in Grimsby who sits amongst the cabbages and plays an elastic water tank under supervision.
Elder Statesman: I didn't know there were any of her kind left you know. Now off you go and tell your auntie the good news.
Grams: Running footsteps over...
Secombe: [Sings] 'Land Of Hope And Glory' Speeding up into the distance.
Orchestra: Dramatic chords
Fx: Hammering of a metal hammer on anvil
Henry Crun: (over hammering mutters) Ohh, dear. -. there.., now that's got the spoons in fine-spoons fettle Mm.
Fx: Quick two spoons together a la buskers
Henry Crun: [sings] 'Na ahah, ahah, aliah, ah' Now Mm, get inside the piano and select me a tuning A.
Grams: One sheep bleating
Henry Crun: Again Min.
Grams: One sheep bleating again
Henry Crun: Oh, they don't make pianos like that any more.
Minnie Bannister: Isn't it time we had it shorn Henery?
Henry Crun: No, not yet Mm, the winters aren't upon us yet, you know. Hand me my knuckle oils.
Minnie Bannister: Now Crun rub it well into the knuckles... it's mixed with Indian brandyyy.
Henry Crun: and Minnie Bannister:(cries of brandyyy brandyyy).
Henry Crun: Oh Mm.
Fx:. Agonising knuckle cracking
Henry Crun: (muttering over) It's no good Min, I've got flat-feet in the third knuckle you know Miii... Ahi... Ah well - Now to try for the Pajanynee variations for spoons arranged - Crun
Grams: Disc of variations.
Henry Crun: Plays spoons and whistles.
Henry Crun: Stop! Stop stop! This spoon is out of tune, Min. Have you been eating with it again?
Minnie Bannister: No.
Henry Crun: Then what's that your stirring the soup with?
Minnie Bannister: A violin,
Henry Crun: She's always got an answer the old cow. Now to compose the last tune for the battle of Spion Kop.
Fx: Busker spoons in tempo.
Minnie Bannister: and Henry Crun: Sing 'Dolly Grey' Fade.
Grams: Fade up battle noises. explosions. Etc.
Bloodnok: Aaaaaaaahhhh... aaalthh.. . abhhbhhh. Ellinga... turn the volume of that battle down.
Fx: Door bursts open
Seagoon: Major! The enemy are...
Bloodnok: Aaahbbbh. .. '
Seagoon: Good heavens, he's gone. Ah here are his boots, they're still warm he can't be far.
Bloodnok: Aaahhh, there ain't nobody here but us chickens I tell you.
Seagoon: The voice came from a cowardly red-face on the top of a chicken wardrobe.
Bloodnok: Oh,. it's you Seagoon, you you coward,
Seagoon: Why have you deserted your post?
Bloodnok: It's got woodworm sir.
Seagoon: Old jokes won't save you.
Bloodnok: They've saved Monkhouse and Goodwin, well that's good enough for me.
Seagoon: ...there's still hope. Crun's vital battle songs have arrived:
Bloodnok: It won't be easy sir. The enemy have just attacked in E-Flat. And we had to retire to G-Minor.
Seagoon: Never mind sir, these old songs are all written in six-sharps.
Bloodnok: The most powerful brown key of them all. Get Ellunga and his Zulu bones to dash off a chorus towards the enemy.
Ray Ellington "Mr Success"
Orchestra: Dramatic chords
Grams: Bugle call at varying pitches, murmurs of troops taking up positions.
Seagoon: At dawn under cover of daylight we took up our positions with our teeth blacked out.
Milligan: Every man has his ammunition pouches bulging with offensive military songs and spoons at the ready.
Seagoon: Right. We'll just have to sit and wait.
Bluebottle: Do you tink we're goin' to win, Captain?
Seagoon: Never was victory more certain little lad.
Bluebottle: Oh... then why have you got that taxi waiting for you at the end of the trench.
Seagoon: Ha ha... Well here's half-a-crown little lad. I think we can forget all about it now.
Bluebottle: No... I can't forget about it.
Fx: Colossal clout
Bluebottle: Ahh... I forgotten about it.
Seagoon: Now explain to me why you're lying down two-inches below the level of the ground and speaking through a tombstone.
Bluebottle: Well, I was doing an impression of a zebra crossing when... squelch! a taxi ranned over me breaking both my boots above the wrist.
Seagoon: What agony igony ogony oogany mahogany... Did it hurt you?
Bluebottle: No because I'm making it all up. Ha hee...
Grams: Taxi approaches at terrific speed. Jelly thud sound.
Bluebottle: Oooh. You've taxied me. Look, the Christmas strings coming off my legs.
Seagoon: Swallow this first-aid book and custard. I'll have your legs relacquered free and exported to Poland.
Bluebottle: You're a fair man, sir... Merryl Kribynss.
Eccles: Ooh, Bottle. What you doing under that taxi?
Bluebottle: It ran over me, Eccies,
Eccles: You must be rich... I can only afford to be run over by buses.
Bluebottle: Well my man when you're in the big money you know, you can do things like this.
Eccles: You see, one day I'll have enough money to be run over by a Rolls-Royce with a chauffeur.
Bluebottle: Well, pull me out then.
Eccles: Right-o. Hold this.
Bluebottle: What is it?
Eccles: I don't know, but I got it cheap.
Seagoon: Let me see what you got cheap?
Grams: Tiger growl
Seagoon: Good heavens it's a genuine hand operated 1914 tiger!
Bloodnok: Seagoon, put that tiger back in its stripes... we don't want any scandals during ladies night.
Abdul: Pardon me, sir. All the men are ready with their music.
Bloodnok: Good, let's have those spoons then lad.
Orchestra: Each man issued with two spoons. They make noise like buskers. -
Bloodnok: Oooh... what a terrifying sound. It's a good job nobody heard it.
Seagoon: Now men, to your military Crun music and take up your vocal positions with your voices facing outwards.
Bloodnok: And don't sing men until you see the whites of their song sheets. Are you ready? Bugler, sound the elephant.
Grams: High pitched trumpeting by single elephant
Hugh Jampton: Here they come now, sir.
Bloodnok: Quick, me spoons and me music. I'll show 'em
Fx: Two spoons busking in tempo to...
Bloodnok: Singing 'Goodbye Dolly I Must Leave You'
Bloodnok: 'Goodbye Dolly, I must leave you.' (shouts) Come on you fools, there's more of this where that came from. (continues singing) 'Off we go and fight the foe.' (shouts) Sing up lads!
Cast: All join in singing and rattling spoons
Grams: Shells start bursting in their midst. Starting slowly and increasing in intensity.
Bloodnok: Continues to sing but gradually his morale is destroyed, he breaks off.
Bloodnok: Run for it lads... Oooh, these songs aren't bullet proof.
Grams: Whole army runs away yelling in terror. Speed up and fade.
Grams: Arctic gale howling. Occasional wolves.
Bloodnok: That's far enough lads, where are we?
Seagoon: The South Pole sir.
Bloodnok: No further, we don't want to back into them. Oh... plant the Union Jack will you? The national flag of the Union of Jacks. I claim the South Pole in the name of Gladys Pills of 13 The Sebastibal Villas, Sutton.
Seagoon: Who is she, sir?
Bloodnok: I don't know, but obviously we're doing her a big favour.
Seagoon: There's still a chance of victory. Look what I've got in the brown paper parceL
Fx: Rustling of paper
Bloodnok: Good heavens white paper, what a glorious victory for England.
Seagoon: Look under the stamp.
Bloodnok: What? A fourteen-inch naval gun.
Eccles: And guess what's in the barrel?
Bloodnok: I've no idea.
Seagoon: Major, inside the barrel are photographs of a British military dinner.
Bloodnok: Really... Keep it going lads, keep it going.
Seagoon: I intend to fire that photograph at the enemy canteen during their lunch break. When they see the size of British military dinners they'll desert.
Bloodnok: I know... half our men deserted when they saw the size of 'em. However it's worth a try. Take aim... fire!
Grams: Colossal explosion. Followed by piles of bones falling on to the ground,
Bluebottle: Ehhh... that's the last time I kip in a barrel. Collapses, and is left out of show from now onwards. Goodnight everybody.
Grams: Cheers applause
Bluebottle: Oh... by popular request I come back again.
Seagoon: All we can do is to wait and see what effect that photograph of a military dinner has on the enemy. Meantime a sound effect.
Grams: Wind up and wolves howling
Greenslade: Meantime in Parliament the British Government had written off the Battle of Spion Kop as a dead loss.
Ancient Statesman: Gentlemen, urn, um... to save face and the honour of England, we're going to bring back that old favourite urn, ah... the Battle of Waterloo.
Cast: Ancient murmurs of approval
Elder Statesman: Gentlemen, we shall send out immediate notification to the original cast.
Orchestra: Marseillaise-type link
Moriarty Bonaparte: [snoring]
Fx: Door opening
French Neddie: Mon Emperor, wake-up!
Moriarty Bonaparte: flow dare you wake the Emperor Napoleon up in the middle of his retirement.
French Neddie: Wonderful news... by special request we have to do an encore of the Battle of Waterloo.
Moriarty: Bonaparte: What... but we lost it.
French Neddie: This time we've got a British backer.
Moriarty Bonaparte: Sapristi nabolas. Get my trousers oiled and unwrap a fresh Josephine... ahh, there's going to be fun tonight in the camp.
Grytpype: Down Emperor down.., back to your grave. You know you're not allowed out after your death.
Moriarty Bonaparte: Blast these silly rules.
Grytpype: My card Neddie.
Seagoon: This is a piece of string.
Grytpype: Have you no imagination lad. I am Lord Ink.
Seagoon: Not Pennan?
Grytpype: Yes Pennan Ink.
Orchestra: Chord in C
Seagoon: Don't worry folks, it's getting near the end now. Anl pay offs will be gratefully received.
Grytpype: One coming up, Ned. Unfortunately my client Moriarty is appearing in 'The Death of Napoleon' at the local knackers yard... it looks like being a very long run,
Seagoon: It looks like being a long run? 'What does?
Grytpype: Ten miles.
Fx: Pistol shot
Bloodnok: They're off!
Grams: Two pairs of running feet
Seagoon: (panting) As we ran we discussed the contract for the Battle of Waterloo. Later at Preston Barracks Brighton, we auditioned for the part of the Duke of Wellington.
Grams: Fade in Sellers singing last part of 'Any Old Iron' mate.
Seagoon: Thank you. Wait inside the piano one moment will you. What do you think?
Grytpype: He's not the Lord Wellington type you know.
Seagoon: Yes. (calls out) I say we'll write and let you know.
Willium: Let me know what?
Seagoon: That you're no good for the part.
Willium: Rite - I won't take another job till I hear that, then.
Seagoon: Next please.
Eccles: (sings) "I'll follow my secret heart till I find you..."
Seagoon: One moment. (aside) Where's my.pistol?
Grytpype: No Neddie no one moment...
Moriarty Bonaparte: Grytpype... with Eccles playing the part of Wellington this time the French are bound to win the battle of Waterloo.
Grytpype: Right... Eccles? Button the hat and sword. Now Charge...
Grams: Great galloping of horses into distance with shots screams and more shots
Seagoon: (in tears) No... we've.., we've lost the Battle of Waterloo,
Moriarty: Get your new history books... get your new history books here... read how the French won Waterloo folks.
Fx: Phone rings
Bloodnok: Seagoon, look here, a right twitt you made of yourself firing that photo of a dinner at the enemy. Do you know what they've fired back?
Bloodnok: The photograph of an empty plate.
Seagoon: Well, there you are folks the old anti-climax again.
Orchestra: 'Old Comrades March' playout
Transcription and HTML by Kurt Adkins: email@example.com